FRPN Grantee Report: A Randomized Controlled Trial to Examine the Impact of Cell Phone Technology on Engagement and Retention of Fathers in a Fatherhood Program

Dec 2019 | Anna Hayward, Romarie McCue, Wei Hou, Alexander McKillop & Seung Ju Lee

Questions persist as to the best way to recruit, engage and retain fathers in responsible fatherhood programs. Through FRPN-funding, Stony Brook University and the Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative (SCFI) conducted a study using cell phone technology to reach and retain fathers in a fatherhood program. 

The study explored the use of two interventions and a control group among 212 participants: (1) providing cell phones and sending text messages to participants in the SCFI program with the goal of increasing participants engagement, participation and retention and (2) increasing the incentive for research interviews with the goal of increasing retention in the program and research protocol. Researchers did not see any effect of either the texting or increased incentive on their measure of father’s engagement, participation or retention in the program.

Despite the lack of definitive findings in terms of key outcomes, fathers expressed positive views about texting and the research team believes that utilization of modern technology has potential to help fathers stay connected to responsible fatherhood programs. 

The full study can be downloaded below. Download the summary report here or executive summary here

This study was also featured in the June 2019 FRPN webinar, Testing the Use of Cellphones and Online Resources to Engage Fathers and Improve Parenting.

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